GOVT NOTIFIES GUIDELINES FOR PRACTISING TELEMEDICINE
NEW DELHI : The government has gazette notified guidelines to practice telemedicine in India.
Experts said the release of guidelines that aim to protect both patients and practitioners got expedited owing to restrictions under the ongoing national lockdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Telemedicine ensures patient’s as well as health workers’ safety, experts said.
The Board of Governors in supersession of the Medical Council of India (MCI), has been working on the guidelines amended the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, to include telemedicine consultation. However, the guidelines prohibit use of digital technology to conduct surgical or invasive procedures remotely.
“We had already put in six months of work into the guidelines and, when the coronavirus pandemic happened, we expedited it” Dr Nikhil Tandon, head, department of endocrinology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, had said. Dr Tandon is a member of the Board of Governors, MCI.
“Disasters and pandemics pose unique challenges to providing health care. Though telemedicine will not solve them all, it is well suited for scenarios in which medical practitioners can evaluate and manage patient. Telemedicine practice can prevent the transmission of infectious diseases reducing the risks to both health care workers and patients,” the guidelines say.
Telemedicine services cannot be used for providing emergency care when in-person care is available. It should largely be limited to life-saving measure, counselling and advice on referral.
“The formal notification will help us scale up and reach out to a larger population base,” says Dr Anupam Sibal, group medical director, Apollo Hospitals.